BBB sees increase in employment scams

LIHUE — Employment scams are on the rise in 2018.

Since January, U.S. residents have reported 1,500 employment scams to BBB Scam Tracker with over $1.4 million lost. Compare this to 1,000 scams with over $500,000 lost from January to May of last year. Similarly, employment scams from Northwest + Pacific residents have increased by 30 percent. Hawaii residents have already reported nine employments scams this year.

Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific wants job seekers to be aware of employment scams that often trick “new employees” into giving out their personal information or their hard-earned money.

With the official start of summer just a couple of weeks away, many graduates and students out of school will be looking for full time or seasonal work. Scammers may take advantage of this opportunity to prey on job seekers with scam job postings, fake recruiter emails and work-at-home schemes.

To avoid employment scams, job hunters should look out for these red flags:

w Positions that provide little training. Always be wary of work-from-home or secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant, or customer service rep. These positions don’t usually require special training or licensing, which makes it appealing to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads.

w Vague company descriptions. It’s a huge red flag if you can’t identify the company’s contact information, owner, headquarters or even product from its online ad. Pro tip: check online at bbb.org/northwest-pacific to see if the employer has a good rating.

w No interview. If you are offered a job without a formal interview or job application, it’s most likely a scam. Be wary of jobs that hire on the spot or conduct interviews via online chat or instant messaging services.

w Job applications that require a fee. The federal government and the U.S. Postal Service never charges for information about jobs or applications for jobs. Be wary of any offer to give you special access or guarantee you a job for a fee —if you are paying for the promise of a job, it’s probably a scam.

A legitimate recruiter will provide you with a complete contract for their services with cost, what you get, who pays (you or the employer), and what happens if you do not find a job.

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